A win at last as Owen Ruttley's side gave Blue & Blacks' fans an early Christmas present. They weren't the only ones bearing gifts as the Wanderers surrendered numerical adavantage to the hosts for a quarter of a fractious game.
Ex- Blue & Blacks Marcus Leach and Alex Luff both spent 10-minute periods in the cooler as replacement referee Lynn Davies lost patience with professional fouls and off-the-ball incidents.
Davies had taken over from injured referee Huw Watkins within the opening 10 minutes, allowing a bizarre scenario whereby the Wanderers' water-carrier became emergency touch-judge. That happened to be Rupert Moon, a qualified referee in his own right, but reprising now what some may regard as his most famous role as a carrier of liquid. Why? Because of a rash promise on radio last year that "If the Wanderers get promoted I'll become their water-carrier". Oops!
Cardiff's back play lacked the intimations of creativity that had surfaced at Bridgend last Saturday. Crucial to this was the unfortunate late withdrawal of centre Dafydd Hewitt. Having benefited from a light team run-out on Tuesday evening in readiness for this match, he had a gruelling three sessions with the Blues' Academy coaches on Wednesday and suffered a reaction to his recent knee injury.
But Cardiff had a Plan B on this occasion. With the pack, especially in the second half, going well Nick Macleod was able to dictate matters at fly-half. In fact, the game within a game was a sight for the connoisseurs, as opposite number Gareth McCarthy also contributed some consummate kicking skills.
It was Macleod, however, who came out on top, succeeding with all six kicks at goal (following on from four out of four against Bridgend). Pride of place went to a 51-metre effort in the 36th minute that put the side 12-6 ahead. That lead disappeared early in the second half when Stuart Lawrence crossed for a visitors try but the Blue & Blacks were far from finished.
With Luff off the field they wisely switched to punishing driving mauls, twice covering nearly 40 metres before they were halted illegally. Macleod duly obliged with another penalty, having already converted a try by James Goode, his second in as many home games and again under the posts.
It wasn't always a case of rugby on the front foot, though. With McCarthy setting up attacking lineouts, the Wanderers drove for the Cardiff line three times. Each time heroic defence and impressive unit skills kept them out. In the end it was a victory for heart as well as head as Cardiff won the battle of the capital city.